Foundations 2013 -- Honors Projects

The honors projects for this course will build on our work in the regular class, where we are exploring the following: the anti-hero, secrecy and deception, power and corruption, cruelty and compassion, pride and ambition, and violence and hate.


Some questions you might pose as you formulate an Honors project include: How might a secret change the expected course of events? How are secrecy and deception linked to power? And injustice? How are deceived people cheated? Are some kinds of deception more acceptable, or forgivable than others? When, if ever, is deception OK? Can a keeping a secret be noble thing to do? How does power corrupt? How does indifference potentially create cruelty? Can compassion change the course of events?


Designing your independent Honors Project, you may narrow your focus to fit a particular genre, complete an author study, or use a common theme to analyze the works.Please choose three titles from the list below:


I know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Othello by William Shakespeare

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

The Talented Mr. Ripley (and other novels in the Ripley series) by Patricia Highsmith

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson

The Grifters by Jim Thompson

Wuthering Heights by Emily BrontŽ

Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontŽ

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

Beloved by Toni Morrison


You may search out other titles; HOWEVER: I must have read them, approved them, and they may not be on any list taught here.



If you decide to pursue an Honors project, you will be required to meet with me as per the guidelines in the Honors packet.You must schedule and keep these meetings as well as come prepared with the expected work.


Before you write your proposal, please spend some time browsing online (or in the library). Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble make it possible for you to read sample chapters. This is important. Sometimes students choose a novel because the plot summary sounds enticing, but later find themselves disappointed with the authorís style, and have to struggle through 300 pages.


In your proposal, outline the authors and titles you have selected.Please make sure you have four parts: (1) An explanation of the theme that that will be your focus and why it appeals to you or piques your curiosity; (2) a list of the readings you have chosen, with some comments on your reasons for choosing them; (3) a brief indication of the writing you plan to do; (4) a statement of what you hope to gain (exposure? understanding? practice?) from the experience.


The written part of your project will include an essay discussing how a theme is developed in all three works.You may also write another essay, on a topic or question that grows out of your reading logs and/or a creative piece that will be determined once the reading is underway. How many pieces you choose to write will dictate the scope of the first essay.


Please also submit a reading schedule to me, showing what you will cover, week-by-week, planning to complete all the reading one month before the final project deadline. You will keep a detailed readerís log/writerís journal.No plot summary, please.